Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Backyard Playground

When we bought this old house, this was our "backyard":

Then it went through a few stages...

Construction site

Demolition site

Zombie Playground

Fenced in concrete block/Pretty in snow...

Bare (ridiculously expensive!) soil

Hesitant grass and baby tree nursery

And as of very, very early this morning (God bless the Amish work crew that came to install it at 6AM)...


I have a feeling my children/backyard will be very, very popular this summer...

PS: I don't have much hope for that grass...

PPS: Two completely bare, chopped and fenced over stumps are currently sprouting new branches. (You can see one next to the flowers behind Daniel's elbow.) Miracle of life...

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How to Survive the End of the School Year: A Guide for Teacher/Mommies

me and the big kid, obviously not in June.

It's awesome being a teacher and a mommy, isn't it?! You have the same vacation schedule as your child, you have summers off, you don't have to worry about missing important school events because, you work there! You can have parent-teacher conferences whenever you want... just walk down the hall!

I love being a teacher/mommy. BUT, there are two times of the year when being a teacher mommy is not awesome, AT ALL: September, and June.

Fellow teachers can skip the next section. Everyone else: Wonder why your child's teacher looks so frazzled? Been asking yourself why your teacher roommate keeps leaving the milk in the cabinet? Getting annoyed at your teacher spouse who snaps at you and can't stay awake past 9PM?

This is what the end of the school year is like for teachers:
Imagine... Completing 25-32 end of year performance reviews and writing up 25-32 individual reports (Assessments/Report Cards/IEP's)

AT THE SAME TIME AS cleaning and packing up your entire office- every. single. pencil.

AT THE SAME TIME AS completing mindless, repetitive forms on paper because your school district is stuck in 1952.

AT THE SAME TIME AS completing mindless, repetitive forms on a poorly performing website on a slow Internet connection because your school is stuck in 2004. (And yes, you are doing both. Because you are.)

AT THE SAME TIME AS planning for a big project or new long term initiative (Curriculum Planning)

AT THE SAME TIME AS wondering if you will even be doing that big project next year (Stressing about grade changes, which happen in June)

AT THE SAME TIME AS planning a retirement party for a friend (in a big school like mine, someone is always retiring)

AT THE SAME TIME AS entertaining teaching 25-32 hyperactive children who are longing for summer.

Still jealous that we get summers off?

So, here is a note to myself, on the cusp of the beginning of the end of the school year:
June: A Survival Guide.

1. Set low expectations. You will rush through bedtime routines, you will skip baths, you will pick up pizza twice a week. Nachos or popcorn and fruit are completely acceptable dinners in June. It's okay. You can serve 3 course meals in July.

2. Don't schedule any big projects for yourself. Now is not the time to have carpets installed or rearrange your closets.  Just say no.

3. Don't bring work home. Stay at work and do work at work. When you get home, RELAX. Or, try to.

4. Eat well. Binging on cookies and chocolate only feels good temporarily.  Your July self will thank you for eating fruit instead of ice cream in June.

5. Prepare your family.
KIDS: "Mommy is going to be super busy this month. She will probably yell a bit more and louder than usual. It's okay, in July we'll be doing lots of fun stuff like going to the beach and we will both forget all about it, OK?"

HUSBAND: "Bring home wine. I'll see you in July."